Retail Stocks Slump With Wall Street

Sector off despite better-than-expected comp sales in January.

Retail stocks fell along with Wall Street despite better-than-expected comparable-store sales in January.

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group fell 0.3 percent, or 1.98 points, to 699.13, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.3 percent, or 42.47 points, to 13,944.05.

Shares of The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. fell 15.3 percent to $11.62 after the company logged a 0.4 percent comparable-store sales drop in January. Limited Brands Inc., fell 3.3 percent to $45.68 as its Victoria’s Secret division posted an 8 percent comp rise in January, while the Bath & Body Works unit gained 10 percent, but the company said it was comfortable with Wall Street projections for its fourth-quarter earnings where investors were clearly hoping for a hint of outperformance.

Shares of Macy’s Inc., which saw  comps shoot up 11.7 percent, gained only 2 percent to $40.27.

In Europe, major market indicators fell today, outside of the DAX in Frankfurt, which edged up 0.1 percent to 7,590.85.

The European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi said he was expecting continued economic weakness in the next few months and expressed concerns over the strengthening euro. A strong currency is good for imports and the purchase of raw materials priced in dollars, but it makes exports more expensive.

The EBC decided to maintain its interest rate at 0.75 percent for the seventh consecutive month. The bank has been keeping the rate stable and until the economy begins to recover. The Bank of England also kept its interest rate on ice at 0.5 percent.

The FTSE MIB in Milan led the decline, falling 1.2 percent to 16,400.56, while the CAC 40 in Paris was down 1.2 percent to 3,601.05. The FTSE 100 in London declined 1.1 percent to 6,228.42.

The euro traded at $1.35 against the dollar while the pound traded at $1.57 and the Swiss franc traded at $1.10.

Shares of Burberry Group sank 6.5 percent to 13.37 pounds after the company said its well-regarded chief financial officer Stacey Cartwright would leave in July, capping a nine-years career at the compny.

Also declining were Compagnie Financière Richemont, down 2.8 percent to 73.75 Swiss francs; Yoox, 2.2 percent to 13.51 euros, and Safilo Group, 2.7 percent to 7.86 euros.